Samara Tilkens Postuma is raising five kids from infant to teen in the St. Michael area with her husband, Jeff. When not found driving kids to and from activities, helping with homework or at the park or pool, you can find her sharing her life online where she does some freelance writing and social media work and also writes at her own blog, www.simplicityinthesuburbs.com.

A Road Trip Parenting Conundrum

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society, Crime, Violence Updated: August 6, 2014 - 10:13 PM

I took my three youngest children on a cross country road trip a few weeks back. Thankfully an aunt joined us about 300 miles into the trip so I was really only solo for about 5 hours on day one. 

{Stanley, Wisconsin has a pretty fancy, multi-cultural McDonalds}

But it was that first five hours that ran me into my first road trip conundrum. When we stopped for lunch in Stanley, Wisconsin, my eight year old son had to use the restroom. The idea of sending him in to a truck stop/gas station/fast food restaurant restroom alone had me panicked. But at eight years old, there was no convincing him to come into the women's room.

I was torn on what to do and at the last minute allowed him to go into the mens room while I stood outside.

He was fine. I was fine. The rest of the restroom visits throughout the trip was much of the same.

I'm not sure why this is a non issue on a day to day basis when we are out and about around home besides the fact that we're in familiar territory and usually with friends and family.

I try not to live and parent with fear but the entire situation had me wondering, what does everyone else do in situations like this?

Is there a real reason to be cautious or are we just oversaturated with Dateline and Headline News stories of what could happen?

What do you do when you are out and about with your children and your child of the opposite gender needs to use the restroom?

Meet Gillette's CurePity Heroes Ambassadors- The Feyereisen Triplets

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: August 4, 2014 - 10:35 AM

Leah and Nick Feyereisen have heard a time or two that their hands are full. But with three spunky, "lucky" seven year old boys you won't find them complaining.

The couple found out they were having spontaneous triplets just seven weeks into Leah's pregnancy. Months later an ultrasound revealed problems, a brain bleed, clubfeet and a spinal abnormality with the baby who would be named Tanner. Gillette was involved then and remains involved now. To date, Tanner has undergone eight surgeries to treat his clubfeet and cerebral palsy, and to correct his spinal abnormality.

In addition to his physical challenges, Tanner deals with Celiac disease and must adhere to strict dietary limitations. But his experiences have only strengthened the triplets’ bond. “These brothers, they just love each other,” says Leah. “They’re very protective. Parker and Cole hate when Tanner’s not around.”

Leah considers Gillette family and it's no wonder, the family has been there so many times over the last seven years. 

Leah and Nick have worked hard to use Tanner's experience as an opportunity to teach the boys about kindness and acceptance, having conversations about why he wears leg braces, why someone else might be in a wheel chair and helping them be inclusive.

The three 7 year old Irish, born on St. Patty's Day, triplets have been chosen as Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare's CurePity Heroes ambassadors as Gillette and Centurylink team up.

The two are teaming up to find stories of everyday people in the Twin Cities who've gone above and beyond to help create a better, more inclusive world for people who have disabilities.  CurePity Heroes honors individuals or groups of people who are changing the world by improving the lives of a child, teen, or adult who has a disability. Nominations are being accepted at www.curepity.org/heroes in three separate categories:

1) Kids
2) Groups
3) Adults

For each submission, CenturyLink will make a donation to Gillette and the deadline to enter is August 22.
 

Summer Bucket List: Minneapolis Aquatennial Parade

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: July 16, 2014 - 9:27 PM

Thursday officially begins the "best days of summer". The Minneapolis Aquatennial! For the next ten days there will be a variety of events happening throughout the city from the sandcastle competition and milk carton boat races to fireworks next Saturday night to a late night, torchlight parade next Wednesday.

The parade is our favorite.

Eight years ago a friend invited us to go to the parade so we went with two young kids and a 2 month old and since then it's been tradition. We are there every single year. Rain, sunshine, weather advisory heat. It doesn't matter because we are there.

The parade starts at 8:30 p.m.next Wednesday night [July 23] and runs about 2 hours. Yes, this means your kids will be outside on Hennepin Avenue after dark. After bedtime.

They'll get dirty and they'll be so tired they'll likely pass out in the car and the next morning you'll not only have to scrub them clean but clean out the contents of your car which will surely be full of stickers and candy and glow sticks and everything else that is handed out at the parade.

But.

It is worth it. {And really nothing a good bath and a quick cleaning of the car can't handle!}

It is one of our favorite summer traditions and though yes it's a parade, what I enjoy about it is so much more than the parade.

It's the up-past-bedtime, ice cream treats and glowing, twinkling lights. It feels like something special and magical that breaks all the parenting rules and is so fun. Those are the memories I want my kids to remember amidst the long days, the battles, the times they think I am no fun at all. I want them to remember that when they were little, they stayed up way too late and stood watching marching bands and lighted floats pass by on Hennepin Avenue. I want them to remember that we let them choose whatever ice cream treat they wanted and that we let them eat it as it melted all over their little hands and that they were so deliriously tired by the end that they could barely walk to the car afterwards. That is why next Wednesday night matters to me and why I'll keep my kids out til nearly midnight when all is said and done. 

The Minneapolis Aquantennial Torchlight Parade takes place Wednesday, July 23 at 8:30 p.m. on Hennepin Avenue from Dunwoody to 5th Street

Do you have plans to attend the Torchlight Parade next Wednesday night?

Summer Safety with Children's: Sun Smarts

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society, Education and literacy Updated: July 14, 2014 - 10:02 PM

Who doesn't love a nice warm sunny day? After the longest winter ever Minnesotans are determined to soak up each and every moment of sunshine we can. Vitamin D, right?

It's all good as long as you're protecting yourself from the sun. July is UV Protection Month and Dr. Pamela Gigi Chawla, senior medical director of Primary Care for Children's Hospital, has a lot of tips for families who are trying to make the most of the sun.

-Be proactive and preventitve. Wear sunscreen from the beginning, don't wait until you start seeing color.

-Speaking of color, if you are seeing red, it's time to go in. "Your skin is giving you a warning sign," Dr. Chawla said noting it's important to just head in at that point, not to start reapplication.

-Reapply. "You can't assume you're covered for hours upon hours, you must reapply," Dr. Chawla said.

-Rashguards, protective clothing and sun hats. If your child is going to be swimming or at the beach, this is a simple way to help protect them from the sun without having to constantly reapply sunscreen to their arms and torso.

-If you or your child get burnt, stay hydrated and use a topical soothing agent {like aloe or coconut oil} and over the counter pain relief. "Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so take care of it," Dr. Chawla said.

-It's especially important that if your baby gets sunburnt you stay on top of it as babies can lose a lot of heat and water and sunburns can cause fluid issues. 

-Dr. Chawla said that while aerosol sunscreens are convenient, it's difficult to see where the product is. "Using a cream sunscreen creates a thick, visible barrier," she said though noting sunscreen use of any kind is better than none.

How do you keep yourself and your kids safe in the sunshine? Do you have a certain brand of sunscreen you swear by? Rules for reapplication?

Summer Bucket List: Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater

Posted by: Samara Postuma under Society Updated: July 10, 2014 - 8:23 AM

Today's summer bucket list post is from Anne of Shoreview. She's adding some Stillwater sites to the Summer Bucket List. 

***

 

For our family, summer seems incomplete without at least one visit to Stillwater. Getting there is half the fun if you take the lushly-green back route into town via Highway 96 east off Highway 61. There is so much to do, and the main attraction for families with young kids is Teddy Bear Park, located just up the hill from downtown at the corner of South 2nd Street and Nelson Street.

 

This charming playground is free and open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Strollers beware – it’s a steep climb from the main drag of Stillwater, but worth the trek. There is a free public parking lot adjacent to the park where you might find a spot. Clean bathrooms are located within the park, along with a drinking fountain, plenty of benches, and a small gazebo for picnics.

 

It can get very hot at midday, so plan your time accordingly to enjoy all the features.  Our favorites are the multi-level climbing tree and slide, the multi-compartment train with smaller slides for little ones, and the rock wall with large sandbox for freeplay. There is also a rope web for those Spiderman-wannabees. The park is dotted with its namesake “teddy bears” – darling stone sculptures perfect for family posing and pictures. 

 

After the park, your kids will scream for the monstrous cones at Nelson’s Ice Cream, located at 920 Olive Street West, also “uphill” from downtown Stillwater. Nelson’s offers more than 30 flavors which you can mix and match if you can’t decide. A kid’s size cone was more than our kids could manage on their own, so consider sharing.

 

Venture back downtown for a leisurely stroll by the St. Croix, where you can watch the boats cruise along. Lay out your blanket in the large grassy field and enjoy throwing a ball around or just relaxing. If you venture into any of the charming shops along Main Street, be sure to visit Valley Bookseller, where the kids’ section is large and full of unique books and toys.

 

Plan ahead: Stillwater hosts its annual town fair, Stillwater Log Jam (formerly Lumberjack Days) July 18-20, 2014. Expect a ton of activities (and traffic!) that weekend. 

 

Guest post by Anne of Shoreview, mom to 7-year-old boy/girl twins. She and her husband Jeff enjoy finding new, fun outdoor things to do as a family.

 

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